Saturday, July 28, 2018

Must See Sci-Fi by Sloan De Forest

Must See Sci-Fi
50 Movies That are Out of This World
by Sloan De Forest
Foreword by Roger Corman
TCM/Running Press
Paperback ISBN: 9780762491520
May 2018

AmazonBarnes and NoblePowells

"The most memorable science-fiction movies are ones that defy our expectations." - Sloan De Forest

Science-fiction has always been a genre I've steered clear of. Having seen a smattering of films here and there, I came to the conclusion that this genre was not for me. When I went to the TCM Classic Film Festival back in April, the newest book published by the TCM and Running Press imprint, Must See Sci-Fi was in my welcome bag. I wasn't quite sure what to do with it. Should I keep it? Should I hand it off to someone else? Fast forward a couple months later and my husband and I are at the beach. I brought a stack of classic film books with me, including this one, to film my Summer Reading video. My husband immediately picked up Must See Sci-Fi, commented several times about how good the book was but grumbled about how it was missing one of his favorite Sci-Fi movies Dune. I decided to give it a whirl and the end result surprised me.

Whatever Sloan De Forest is selling I am buying. With this one book, she made me a bonafide Sci-Fi convert. What exactly have I been missing all these years? De Forest adeptly makes it clear. With each of the 50 films highlighted, she elevates them with her deep research and thoughtful insights while also knocking down any misconceptions or trepidations I had of watching these movies. This is more than a collection of movies with a little bit of trivia and some fun stills to look at. De Forest explores how each of these entries into the sci-fi genre questions and comments on society of the era by looking into an alternate future. De Forest also makes connections between early science fiction movies and newer ones tracing the influence they had decades later. She also explores the filmmaking process, what brought the different filmmakers to each project and the impact the film had on the industry and its audiences.

Alphaville (1965)
Things to Come (1936)
The Invisible Man (1933)

Arranged in chronological order, the book starts with A Trip to the Moon (1902) and ends with Arrival (2016). Classic film fans will want to read about early sci-fi films including Metropolis (1927), Frankenstein (1931), The Invisible Man (1933), Things to Come (1936), It Came From Outer Space (1953), Them! (1954), Godzilla (1954), Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956), The Blob (1958), The Time Machine (1960), Alphaville (1965),  Barbarella (1968), Planet of the Apes (1968), 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) and many more. Each film gets its own five page section with poster art, film stills, behind-the-scene photos as well as De Forest's take on the film's significance and how it came to be made (and in some cases remade). Each section also includes three 'Far-Out Facts", one description of a "Mind-Blowing Moment" and two related recommendations listed under 'Keep Watching". There are some spoilers but not too many. When I sensed one coming on, I skipped over a few sentences with a mental note to return once I had seen the movie.

Now to put on my book publishing geek hat on. Running Press is publishing the books in the TCM Must See series in sturdy paperbacks with french flaps. These are much easier to hold than the Into the Dark film noir book which was bigger and published in a paper-over-board hardcover. The Sci-Fi book is in full-color and I loved the design and choice of font. Overall the format lent itself to a very enjoyable reading experience.

Must See Sci-Fi is one of the best film books I've read in a long time. Sloan De Forest is a marvelous writer and thoroughly convincing in her enthusiasm for the genre. While I had seen some of the films featured in the book, I hadn't seen the majority of them. I come away from this book with an open mind and a nice list of new-to-me films to discover.

If you haven't already, check out my interview with Sloan De Forest about this book and her love of sci-fi.


Thanks to the good folks at Running Press, I have 5 copies of Must See Sci-Fi up for grabs.

Rules and Regulations: Must be 18+ or over. US Only. You can only enter one time follow one or both prompts. Must follow prompts as indicated below. Incomplete entries will not be acknowledged. Contest ends Thursday August 2nd, 2018 at midnight EST. 5 winners will be chosen the following day and announced below and contacted via e-mail.

To enter: 

  • Leave a comment below telling me what your favorite science fiction movie is and why. Make sure you include your e-mail address so I can contact you if you win. (Edited to add: E-mail addresses have been removed from comments below)
  • For an additional entry, follow my Instagram @QuelleMovies and leave your username in the comment section below. You can include it in your original entry. Doesn't have to be a separate comment.
Five winners are:

1) Lux
2) Greg
3) The Pop Culturallists
4) Chris
5) Caitlin

This is my second review for the Summer Reading Challenge.


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